The San Antonio Spurs' brass took a hard look at Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas prior to the draft, knowing he could potentially be available in the latter stages of the second round. Thomas didn't disclose his phone number to San Antonio, effectively shutting the communication down, but the Spurs weren't deterred.
Thomas will make his Summer League debut tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats. The final roster spot is still available, though that may change quickly if the Spurs retain restricted free agent Gary Neal.
Thomas' chances at obtaining the final sport are slim, but he still plans on adhering to the Spurs' style of play. That means running the floor hard, diving to the rim often, playing intelligent defense, shooting efficiently and making the extra pass. It's a long list, to be sure, but San Antonio expects their players to succeed in each facet of the game.
Thomas took a higher share of 3-pointers in his junior year and his overall shooting percentages regressed, a potential warning sign. This came with the territory, however — Ohio State entrusted him with 29.1 percent of their possessions, which led the team. While creating points won't be his calling card in the NBA, his turnover percentage (7.3 percent) and free throw rates (4.6 freebies per game) both improved during his final year.
Perhaps Thomas doesn't materialize into anything but a fringe roster player. His first NBA impression will paint a hazy portrait of his potential, and it may take awhile to erase a poor showing in Vegas, even if the sample size is tiny. A strong showing isn't just ideal, but it may be necessary.